Proliferating cells must produce a complete and accurate copy of their genetic material by DNA replication prior to cell division, and in all organisms this duplication begins at discrete sites known as replication origins. In eukaryotic cells, DNA synthesis is initiated from a large number of these regions, whereas bacterial cells replicate less complex genomes from a single origin. It is only in recent years that the process of replication initiation has become elucidated in the third domain of life, the Archaea.

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